The church’s Mission Statement reads in part, “Truth Tabernacle exists to spread the truth and love of God to its members and the community by meeting their spiritual, physical and emotional needs….”
How does a congregation meet a community’s physical needs? In Truth Tabernacle’s case, an annual Health and Wellness Expo is part of the answer, but a more significant contributor is the church’s food pantry.
“We’re trying to live in accordance with our mission statement,” says Stanley, an elder in the church, “The York County Food Bank helps provide the physical side of that for us.”
Truth Tabernacle, a Seventh Day Adventist Church at 617 East Princess Street, is one of York County Food Bank’s 125 food distribution partners. While food is aggregated at the Food Bank’s 254 West Princess Street home, it is distributed through member “branches” such as food pantries, food closets and other agencies located throughout York County.
Each month Truth Tabernacle “assists anywhere from 30 to 35 families,” says Marcia, a key member of the food pantry team. “It’s a melting pot of clients. From a single man or single woman to good-sized families, the need is there.”
And meeting that need is essential, Stanley says. “If a person doesn’t have food, everything else is secondary. When you’re hungry, you’re not going to learn. When you’re hungry, you’ll steal to get food.
“And it is ministry: Jesus did that: He fed them and then he preached to them. So we’re adapting the same principle: Take care of the need and once they’re fed we can feed them with the Word.”
So once a month, Truth Tabernacle members can be found at the York County Food Bank, obtaining supplies to support their food pantry. Marcia says the Truth Tabernacle pantry is open on the third Wednesday of every month, from 3 to 5 p.m., for the convenience of working clients. The church also opens its doors in the case of emergencies, she adds.
It’s truly a team effort, not only between the York County Food Bank and the pantry, but within the church itself. Many members volunteer, and congregational donations support the outreach, which is pretty amazing, considering the church has only 50 members.
“When we walk around the community doing our outreach, we can see that there are a lot of families that are underprivileged in the area. We just try to meet their needs,” Stanley says, sounding a whole lot like someone who believes in the idea of neighbors helping neighbors.
- ALLAN PETTIT